General Synod 28 Antoinette Brown Award recipients (from left) the Rev. Barbara Gerlach, the Rev. Bernice Powell Jackson and the Rev. Carole Carlson. (photo Diane Weible)
For the first time
in its 37-year history, the Antoinette Brown Award was presented to
three clergywomen, rather than the usual two, at a GS28 luncheon on
The Rev. Carole
Carlson, former Conference Minister for New Hampshire, who was
ordained in 1977, was recognized for her pastoral skills and for
embodying the spirit of Antoinette Brown — “a trail-blazer, an
advocate for justice for women, a voice of protest against abusive
power wherever it’s found and a deeply caring pastor.” She was
introduced by the Rev. Susan Henderson.
The Rev. Barbara
Gerlach, an advocate for women who was ordained in 1971, was a
significant personality in the creation of the Coordinating Center
for Women in Church and Society. She and her husband, the late Rev.
John Mack, shared a co-equal pastorate, in Scranton, Penn., and she
has been recognized as an artist portraying the suffering of women
and children. She was introduced by the Rev. Davida Foy Crabtree.
The Rev. Bernice
Powell Jackson, a former executive minister of Justice and Witness
Ministries of the UCC, was ordained in the Amistad Chapel in the
Church House in 2005. Pastor of First United UCC in Tampa, Fla., she
currently serves and president of the North American region of the
World Council of Churches. She was introduced by the Rev. Yvonne
Crabtree, a former
award-winner, noted that previous honorees were wearing their
“Netties,” their awards, on Monday at General Synod 28 and at
home if they were not able to be in Tampa.
The award honors
the memory of the first woman ordained in the United States.
Antoinette Brown Blackwell attended Oberlin College, graduating in
1847, then lobbied the college for admission into its theological
School. She completed seminary in 1850 but was not granted her Doctor
of Divinity degree until 1908. She was ordained in 1853 and called to
serve the Congregational Church in South Butler, N.Y.
The Rev. Alice
Hunt, the 12th of president Chicago Theological Seminary, reviewed
the life and character of Antoinette Brown in her keynote address.